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Tuesday, April 22, 2008

No Longer Will I Be the Only Grown Man at Safeco with a DS

posted by on April 22 at 9:41 AM


Stupidest thing the Mariners did last year? Some might answer not snapping up a real-deal manager like Joe Torre during the offseason, but the real answer is something a little more menial—charging fans eight bucks to bring a DS to the game.

Nintendo’s ballclub (and source of a zillion video games starring Ken Griffey Jr) introduced a seemingly cool feature to Safeco Field last year, proving that the team’s demands for millions from taxpayers years ago were sound and prudent. In 2007, you could bring a Nintendo DS to the park and, through its Wi-Fi capabilities, use it to do all kinds of baseball-related things: Watch a muted TV broadcast of the game to catch instant replays not shown on the jumbotron, avoid lines by ordering beer and food to be delivered to your seat, and look up every matter of statistic about this game and any other MLB game that day. Trouble was, the money-grubbers wanted eight five bucks for the service per game—or you could buy an overpriced season pass and watch the savings melt away!

I tried this out one game last year, and you know what I got? Food/drink prices that were at least $2 more across the already inflated board; a splotchy, hard-to-view video of the game that was already right before my eyes; and stats about the Kansas City Royals. Oh, and glares from the mom one row up, five seats over, who stated with her eyes that she didn’t appreciate me trolling for 12-year-olds on Pictochat. Not worth eight five bucks.

Anyway, as of today, the service has been upgraded to free. I’m not getting my hopes up about the “new features” that are being vaguely promised—maybe you can touch the screen and start the wave or something?—but at the price of $0, I’ll admit that there’s some fun in forcing a poor concession stand girl to stomp to the top of section 344 and deliver chicken fingers to fatties, and when I used the thing last year, I did get a decent instant-replay shot of a guy getting beaned in the stomach. So to my chubby, violent, fully-grown DS-owning comrades, I say this—descend upon Safeco in droves, stare at your tiny screens mid-game, and be satisfied!

(Apologies for the price error from last season. Even with the correction, the rip-off is still accurate.)

RSS icon Comments


At one of the few games I attended last year, I actually brought my DS along to explore this functionality. Unfortunately(?), all of the kiosks I would presumably have purchased this service from were padlocked and pushed aside under the stairwells. I figured the demand must not have been there. I guess I'll try again this year at the requisite corporate game day.

Posted by kid icarus | April 22, 2008 9:49 AM

The video is much improved this year. They upgraded the codec or something.

Posted by Lark Hawk | April 22, 2008 9:56 AM

Can you get beaned in the stomach? I thought it always referred to getting struck in the face or head.

Posted by egid | April 22, 2008 9:58 AM

Are there any real baseball fans in Seattle? The game here seems to all about video hydroplane races and hat tricks, dancing grounds crews, endless trips for food, idiots trying to start the goddamn wave, asshats talking on their cellphones to their friends in another section -- and now wi-fi entertainment. It's damned embarrassing to be a Mariners fan.

Posted by tomcat98109 | April 22, 2008 10:27 AM

I love the goddamn wave.

Posted by Anon | April 22, 2008 10:30 AM

pro sports. yay.

Posted by max solomon | April 22, 2008 10:35 AM

Professor Layton > Mariners info

Posted by stinkbug | April 22, 2008 10:39 AM

I used this at the one Safeco game I've ever been to, which was last year (when my hometown Sox kicked the M's asses). I couldn't figure out how to get an instant replay, it seemed like I was just getting a 5-second delayed feed of the same camera they use on the jumbotron.

There were lots of people playing the crappy online games, though. The theory in my group was that this service is mostly used by people who don't really care for baseball, but went with someone else who really wanted to go.

Posted by K | April 22, 2008 10:58 AM

I love the wave too, and I've been a baseball fan for forty years. It's a GAME, people, not a war like football. You're supposed to have FUN. If you're not laughing at least part of the time you're doing it wrong.

Posted by Fnarf | April 22, 2008 11:16 AM

I don't know that I saw a game last season, but I did notice people using their DSes this way at a game a week ago. Here I was thinking it was a great sort of underground PR thing that Nintendo was doing to promote their DS wireless and also their baseball team for kids, and I had no idea that previously, you had to pay to get this feature. Good for Nintendo to make this a free cool extra.

As for @4, the distracting stuff isn't unique to Seattle and though this clever use of wireless networking on the ubiquitous game systems seems totally in keeping with the region's love of technology and games (not to mention that Nintendo owns our team and it's a nice way for them to give back a bit for all we pay for Safeco).

Posted by Peter F | April 22, 2008 11:19 AM

@8, I hope you're talking about the White Sox there.

Posted by joykiller | April 22, 2008 11:48 AM

Tomcat - I hate all the distraction shit, too. Excepting highlights, I skip all the other crap. The players warming up between innings is entertainment enough. I pay attention the whole game, even though I have no chance of getting hit by a line-drive foul in my seats.

If you want to minimize the crap and maximize the fandom, go to weeknight games against non-marquee teams. Smaller crowds are inevitably more fan dense.

Posted by Lloyd Clydesdale | April 22, 2008 1:49 PM

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